Brooke Shields is no stranger to acting in a theater: She’s previously been on Broadway in such productions as “Grease,” “Chicago” and “Cabaret.” But those were roles in which Shields was replacing somebody during a production’s mid-run.
Now she’s appearing again onstage, this time for a role given to her in a new musical, "Leap of Faith," which recently began performances at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles.
“I'm used to singing in a character voice, being told, ‘Do it with an accent, or do it in a ‘40s style,’ and with a wig, or a dialect,” the actress, 45, recently told The Los Angeles Times. “When they say, ‘We want to hear you,' I think, ‘What do you mean? I imitate people, that's what I do.’ You feel naked.”
In “Leap of Faith,” adapted from the 1992 movie that starred Steve Martin, Shields play Marva, a waitress who serves as a foil to huckster preacher Jonas Nightingale, portrayed in the musical by Raul Esparaza, whom she sings with.
“It's hard to find your own sound, not being a recording artist,” said Shields. “For example, Raul has a very specific, amazing sound and range and style. He'll say, ‘Today I'm just going to “mark it” [a theater term for 'just go through the motions'] and I'm, like, ‘Your “marking it” is the rest of the world's top-notch performance.’”
Shields described the work ethic in the theater as refreshing. “If you're lucky enough to be in this kind of environment,” she told The Los Angeles Times, “with this amount of talent surrounding you all day long, you've got to keep your eyes and ears open, and be ready to be inspired by it and changed by it.”
“Leap of Faith” continues its run through Oct. 24.
Selected Reading: The Los Angeles Times